Published On: Thu, Feb 28th, 2019

MP Claude Chacho Peterson: “MPs have not yet handled request to reduce salaries”

PHILIPSBURG — The request to reduce salaries has not been handled yet by the members of Parliament. According to Member of Parliament, Claude “Chacho” Peterson, of the SMCP, the information published by StMaartenNews.com that the ministers and parliamentarians have voluntarily agreed to give up 10% of their salaries is incorrect.

During Wednesday’s Council of Minister’s press briefing on February 27, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of EYCS, the honorable Wycliffe Smith, said in answer to the question posed about the ministers lowering their salaries that as per the motion that was submitted in Parliament last year – which was referred to the Council of Ministers – ministers and MPs are requested to give up part of their salaries. Smith said the ministers have signed a release and it is now up to the MPs to also do so.

MP Peterson in a conversation with St. Maarten News Online pointed out that contrary to what was published, that “the Ministers and MPs have voluntarily agreed to give up 10%”, no MP has agreed to that. “We have not dealt officially with this agreement”, Peterson stated.

Minister Smith had indeed stated that the Council of Ministers have agreed to give up 10 percent of their salary but that it is now up to the Parliamentarians to do the same. Smith, at the time member of Parliament for the St. Maarten Christian Party (SMCP) was the initiator of the motion to lower MP salaries by 15%. Smith also was the first MP to officially donate 15% of this salary to charity. Following in his predecessor’s footsteps, MP Peterson is now the only MP who is donating 15% of his salary to foundations and associations.

To the question whether a copy of the release that the ministers had signed to voluntary relinquish 10% of their salaries this year effective January 1st had been given to the members of Parliament to sign too, MP Peterson stated that he had not seen the agreement. However, he stated “I would sign it.”

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